Was it just me or did the atmosphere at the Superbowl seem flat?

Don’t get me wrong, the game was awesome and maybe at your home the place was rocking but at mine it all seemed just a little bit flat.

Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels - Photo by Brook Ward - CC-BY-SA-2.0

Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels trying to figure out whether to play the second half or not – Photo by Brook WardCC-BY-NC-2.0

Now it may have been because I was watching the game on delay (in Australia we have to work on Mondays before we get to see the game – the only disadvantage with seeing the sun first each day) and I’ve also heard that networks can use crowd noise suppression software to clean up the feed (would like to know if that is true or not) but all that aside, the crowd seemed nowhere near as excited as they should have been. The game was off the Richter scale for excitement. Some commentators are saying the best ever. Big underdog building up an apparently unassailable lead and then Tom Brady and the Patriots methodically dragging themselves back into the game. To be fair, once the Patriots machine finally started moving and the Falcon’s defence started getting gassed, the game took on an air of inevitability. Like we had seen this movie before. Things get made into movies so quickly these days, it is hard not to think at big events that ‘this will be a movie in a year or two’. What would the title be? Inflated?

It got me thinking, are neutral venues the answer anymore?

I’m making some assumptions here. I’m hypothesising that the game was flat because most of the attendees were unaligned. The NBA and MLB playoffs play home and away but I can understand why the Superbowl is winner take all on a neutral field. American Football obviously doesn’t have the same latitude and it is obvious that opening the bidding for the Superbowl is a license to print money as well. I equate hosting the Superbowl as an American version of the Olympics or the World Cup without the lingering capital works problems.

The trade-off is a venue full of fans from all 32 teams (and I suspect some with no love for the game at all) and the atmosphere suffers commensurately.

I can’t really think of a solution for this one either. Maybe there is none.

BTW while we are at it, I definitely think the overtime rules need an overhaul in the NFL. Rodger Sherman wrote this nice piece with some alternative suggestions. I think the most obvious and fair result would be to adopt the NBA overtime rules and just keep playing until you have an outright winner. I don’t think a change to the rules would have changed the outcome of the game but we will never know.

Stay Tuned

Next exciting episode will be on Monday, 6 March 2017 titled ‘Yogi Ferrell and why the cult of significant upside is overrated’.

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